Author: piers

Announcing Authors4Oceans – take the plastic pledge!

Today I proudly join over 50 of the UK’s top authors and illustrators, including Sir Michael Morpurgo, Chris Riddell and Jacqueline Wilson, as we pledge our support for a campaign encouraging the book industry to ditch plastic, to try and save our oceans.

Authors4Oceans is the brainchild of children’s author Lauren St John, who wants publishers, bookshops and readers to reduce the amount of plastic they use by finding eco alternatives to the bags, straws, bottles and single-use cutlery that ends up at the bottom of the sea.

She came up with the idea when she ordered a drink in a bookshop and it came with a plastic straw “It made me think of all the bookshops across the UK – there are 300 branches of Waterstones alone – and about how many of them dish out plastic straws and bags every day. If I had written on behalf of myself I probably wouldn’t have achieved anything, but I thought if I teamed up with other writers and illustrators we might have a voice.”

I couldn’t agree with Lauren more, and along with M.G. Leonard, Abi Elphinstone, Katherine Rundell, Tom Moorhouse, Robin Stevens and Rob Macfarlane, Jackie Morris, Marcus Sedgwick, Quentin Blake and Patrice Lawrence, to name but a few, we are all campaigning to rid our oceans, seas, lakes and rivers of the plastic menace.

You can visit Authors4Oceans website, which has teacher resources, blogs and tips on how to reduce plastic waste.

One school will win a visit from a bestselling children’s author and 50 books – one from every author and illustrator who signed up to support Authors4Oceans. Two runners up will win author visits and 30 books, and a third prize winner will receive 20 signed books.


We were all inspired ny last year’s “Blue Planet II” BBC programme, presented by David Attenborough, which revealed that pieces of plastic will outnumber fish in the oceans by 2050.

It is not too late to change this though – and truly, every step you take will make a difference. So what are you waiting for? Take our pledge!


New series – coming this September

The Lost Magician by Piers Torday

I’m delighted to announce that my publishers, Hachette Children’s Group (HCG) imprint Quercus Children’s has bought a new fantasy series.

The first book will be The Lost Magician, set in 1945, about four children who step through a mysterious library door into the world of Folio, where an enchanted kingdom of fairy knights, bears and tree gods is under threat from a sinister robot army. The many stories of the library are locked in eternal war, and the children’s only hope is to find their creator – a magician who has been lost for centuries.

Sarah Lambert, editorial director for HCG, secured UK & Commonwealth rights in a three book deal from Clare Conville at C + W.

“Piers Torday is without doubt a master storyteller for children, and we couldn’t be more delighted to launch his eagerly awaited new series,” said Lambert. “Thrilling adventure, unforgettable characters and Piers’ trademark humour are wrapped up in a rich, exciting world. We can’t wait for readers to step through the library door and discover what lies beyond.

The Lost Magician will be published in hardback in September 2018, with two more titles to follow at a later date.

I can now also reveal the spectacular and magic artwork for the cover by the super talented Ben Mantle – more to come soon…

Shrewsbury Book Fest: Announcement

I am completely honoured and delighted to have been asked by Shrewsbury Children’s Bookfest to become one of their Patrons, alongside Martin Brown and Ian Whybrow, with the mighty Jacqueline Wilson as President.

I was first fortunate enough to encounter their work, in 2014, when The Last Wild was shortlisted for their Bookfest Award in 2014, and was struck by how inclusive, creative and child-led their work was. They invited children to choose their favourite books, to create art, poems, dramas and films about them, as well as responding critically, and go away beyond the brief of many regional books awards and festivals. The breadth and depth of their work across their community is inspirational.

The Trustees of the Festival said “Together with Piers on board as Patron, Shrewsbury Bookfest is looking forward to a new and exciting phase in the coming months and years, as its projects with schools and families across Shropshire evolve and grow.”

The Explorer wins Costa Children’s Book of the Year 2017!

Huge congratulations to Katherine Rundell who has won theCosta Children‘s Book of the Year 2017 ! It was an outstanding shortlist in an outstanding year for children’s books, but our decision was happily and conclusively unanimous for this wonderful classic in the making.

Now the category winners have been announced, we have the small task of choosing the Costa Book of the Year…

The winner, to be selected by a panel of judges chaired by novelist Wendy Holden and comprising authors and category judges Moniza Alvi, Simon Garfield, Freya North, Sophie Raworth and myself, joined by Contributing Editor, British Vogue, Laura Bailey, author and presenter, Fern Britton and actor Art Malik, will be announced at an awards ceremony hosted by presenter and broadcaster Penny Smith at Quaglino’s in central London on Tuesday 30th January 2018.

Just a reminder of the full children’s shortlist this year – every one a must read.

Sarah Crossan Moonrise Bloomsbury Children’s Books
Lissa Evans Wed Wabbit David Fickling Books
Kiran Millwood Hargrave The Island at the End of Everything Chicken House

Box of Delights competition winner revealed!

A massive thank you to everyone who entered our Box of Delights drawing competition – we loved seeing what you imagined would be in the Box.

It was a really tough decision but myself, designer Tom Piper and actress Josefina Gabrielle finally chose this entry from Ruby, aged 10. Well done Ruby!

Leading writers join Alt-Write

I am delighted to join Ben Okri, Carol Ann Duffy and Frank Cottrell Boyce as contributors to Alt-Write, a new collection of writing from major authors intended to “debunk xenophobic myths and … help [readers] discover the natural human quality of empathy”.

Okri is contributing his poem Grenfell Tower, June 2017, written after the disaster, Cottrell Boyce has written a “fable about the lost”, The Burning Bush, and Duffy is donating her poem History to the anthology. Aimed at young adults, with all profits to go to the UN refugee agency UNHCR, the anthology, subtitled “Creative reactions to uncertain times”, will feature work from 50 authors and illustrators who also include Benjamin Zephaniah,Michael Rosen, Chris Riddell, Sarah McIntyre, Celia Rees, Philip Ardagh, Alex Wheatle and Jackie Kay.

The past year has delivered a tumultuous series of world events that has left people reeling. Authors and illustrators asked themselves what they could do to help and the answer was to do what we do best, to write and draw and create. When you don’t like the story the world is telling, tell a different story,” said editors Mary Hoffman and Rhiannon Lassiter, who are looking to crowdfund publication of the anthology on IndieGogo. “This collection, to be published in spring 2018, is an outpouring of those emotions, an appeal to reason and a way for us to contribute to those in need of help.”

To help crowdfund the book, please click here.

Patron of Reading 2017

I am delighted to announce that I have been appointed Patron of Reading at St. Silas Primary School in Toxteth, Liverpool, for the rest of this academic year.

A Patron of Reading is a school’s special children’s author, poet, storyteller or illustrator. The school and their patron develop a relationship over a period of time. Everything the patron does is related to helping encourage and develop a reading for pleasureculture in the school: book quizzes, blogs, book recommendations, discussions, plays, poetry bashes, blogs, book trailers and visits. The possibilities are virtually endless.

First mooted by head teacher Tim Redgrave, the idea has now spread to almost 200 schools across the British Isles.

The teaching staff at St. Silas are visionary, determined and inspirational about their mission and the school has a wonderful sense of family and community.

The children are also full of joy and passion for learning and reading, and I cannot wait to see what we can achieve over the coming year.


There May Be A Castle nominated for Carnegie

CILIP Carnegie

There May Be A Castle has been nominated for a CILIP Carnegie Medal 2018, one of a 121 titles nominated for this 80 year old award.

The CILIP Carnegie Medal is awarded annually by CILIP for an outstanding book written in English for children and young people.

Previous winners of the CILIP Carnegie Medal include Neil Gaiman, Sally Gardner, Patrick Ness, Terry Pratchett, Philip Pullman and C.S. Lewis.

Librarians all over the country begin reading the nominated books now in order to make a Longlist announcement on 15 February 2018, with the shortlist announced on 15th March, and the winner revealed on 18th June 2018.

I am thrilled to be listed along with so many other wonderful books and authors – good luck everybody!


Win FREE tickets to The Box of Delights!

To celebrate the world premiere of my adaptation of John Masefield’s The Box of Delights Wilton’s is running a drawing competition for Key Stage 2 (years 3-6).

We would like you to draw or paint a picture of what you imagine might be contained within the magical Box of Delights!  The winning entry will be printed on the front cover of The Box of Delights programme for the duration of the production’s run at Wilton’s, 1st December 2017 – 6th January 2018.

The winner will also receive four tickets to see a performance of their choice of The Box of Delights, subject to availability.

What You Need to Do

  • Make a picture of what you think might be in the Box of Delights.
  • Use any materials, techniques or processes (for example drawing, painting, printmaking, textiles, photography, computer aided design, collage, montage) to make your piece, as long as the entry is two dimensional.
  • The entry must be no bigger than A4.
  • Entries will be judged on originality and creativity, boldness and impact. Judges will include: myself, the show’s designer Tom Piper and Josefina Gabrielle, who is starring as Sylvia Pouncer.
  • Closing Date Friday 17th November at 12.00 (midday). We will not be able to return submitted work.DOWNLOAD AN APPLICATION FORM HERE